PM Nagamootoo calls out Opposition Leader
─ rubbishes claims of corrupt land allocation under Coalition Govt
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, July 10, 2019
The Honourable Moses Nagamootoo, Prime Minister of Guyana, has described the recent attacks by the Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Bharrat Jagdeo against land distribution to persons of African descent as prejudiced.
“They took this racist and selective approach of attacking those persons of African descent who have been given lands,” he stated.
The Honourable Prime Minister made these remarks during an exclusive ‘One on One’ interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI). He was at the time responding to allegations made by the Honourable Opposition Leader with regards to the issuance of lands to individuals who were specifically of African descent.
“They saw a few lands being allocated to a few persons with African names… and they claim the government was distributing land in a corrupt manner; I believe that Jagdeo’s PPP should hang their head in shame since they have helped themselves to state resources and gave to their friends.”
The opposition’s elite, he said, helped themselves to prime government lands, on which some of them built mansions and resold at huge profits.
“I know about what happened with their friends, irrespective of whether they were Indian or African, their cronies were given huge swaths of land,” he added.
As it relates to the issue of land entitlement, the Honourable Prime Minister noted three primary types, namely, communal title to our Indigenous peoples; lease and hereditary lands on the coast, including lands that were allocated in lieu of repatriation of East Indian immigrants; and ancestral lands, portions of which had been purchased by freed African slaves.
Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), Trevor Benn, at a GLSC press conference held in late June to address this very issue, told media operatives that he has been using every measure to transform the organisation which, before 2015, was plagued by corruption.
One of the persons accused was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ground Structures Engineering Consultants (GSEC), Charles Ceres who has since indicated that he will be moving to sue the Honourable Opposition Leader over misinformation. “I intend to have a suit filed against him for him to retract that statement. The facts are here. I have given you everything to validate what I have given to you,” Ceres told reporters following the allegations.
He explained that two leases were granted to him, one in his name for 1,297 acres of land in the Canje Creek area. It was, however, granted by the PPP government at a time when Bharrat Jagdeo was President. The second was granted to GSEC, a company owned by Ceres and his children, for 4.5 acres of land, in 2017.
Ceres continued “I paid more for per acre for land, in Liliendaal, which was reclaimed from the swamp than Jagdeo & his group paid for lands developed at the expense of taxpayers for their lands in Pradoville 1 and 2. If I recall correctly, Jagdeo sold his land and house in Pradoville 1 to Ernie Ross, the Guyana Consul to Trinidad for $120,000,000.00.”
Ceres maintained “I was granted land by the PPP in Canje, not Trevor Benn! I was never granted land in Bohemia!” thereby rubbishing the claims made by the Honourable Opposition Leader.